I've been letting folks know that I'll be retiring from my current position at the end of July. Thirty days hath September and thirty years have I at the U of I. The immediate reasons for retiring are the budget problems, the incentives in the separation program, and the unfortunate reality where it seems I can be most useful now to the University by not drawing a paycheck.
I'll get to the longer term reasons in a bit. First I want to note that I view this more as a change in job status than as a move to the life of leisure. I hope to teach, consult, and write - to do fruitful things and I hope continue to have a positive influence, on learning technology and elsewhere. I also hope to do a mixture of volunteer work and for pay activity. We'll see how that sorts itself out. I'm open to possibilities as they might play out, though I'll be staying in Champaign for the foreseeable future, so alternatives that require moving are not in the cards.
I wrote about the longer term reasons in this post, which has a brief review of Crazy Heart and ties themes from that movie to the more general notion that Baby Boomers are contemplating their own mortality. By coinky dink, last night I turned on the TV around 8PM and The Visitor was just starting. It's a surprisingly good film that is partially about the same theme, using that to get to the a completely different idea, that with warmth and understanding we can make deep connections across race and religion, even if the way the the world works is completely screwed up in this regard. The U.S. immigration system is depicted in this movie in a bureaucratic, uncompromising way. It is entirely blind to whether the individual is a decent person or not.
The film seemed like a personal message to me, not the least because the main character was an academic economist, who found lack of meaning in his university work. He wasn't looking for this particular issue, just wanting to find a spark of life in an otherwise going-through-the motions existence. I don't see immigration as my issue, but perhaps somehow I can work to address some of the inequities we find in education. That would be a good theme for me.